Pittsburgh Pirates: A Couple of Former Players Sign in Miami

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have yet to make a significant move this offseason.  However, a couple of former players from 2020 have found new homes already.

Entering last season there were plenty of reasons for optimism.  The Pittsburgh Pirates had a young, but promising pitching staff, a strong duo of catchers behind the plate, and a chance to have one of the better outfields in baseball.  Meanwhile, they had some top prospects ready to push for MLB roster spots.

Behind the plate was Francisco Cervelli and Elias Diaz, who combined to be one of the better catching tandems in baseball during the 2018 season.  In the outfield, the team had five-tool player Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco coming off an impressive second half in 2018, and their best all-around hitter in 2018 in Corey Dickerson.

Things did not go according to plan.  The Pittsburgh Pirates had several problems in 2018 on and off the field as fans know.  The pitching staff never developed and Jameson Taillon had to get Tommy-John surgery.  Gregory Polanco showed that he was rushed back and found himself back on the Injured List.  Then Cervelli suffered a concussion and missed a chunk of the season.

The team had fallen out of the race and it was time to move on from pending free agents.  For Cervelli it came easy, the team released him in August, allowing him to sign and play with the Atlanta Braves.  Dickerson, they were able to work a trade leading up to the July 31st Trade Deadline.  They traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies for a Player to be Named Later and International Bonus money. Their time and success as Pittsburgh Pirates was up.

It will remain up as well.  The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the market for a catcher and an outfielder.  No one expected the Bucs to bring back injury-prone catcher Francisco Cervelli, he was not the answer the team needs behind the plate.  This week Cervelli signed a one-year contract with the Miami Marlins worth $2 million.

Corey Dickerson also found himself a new home this week.  There was some thought that if the Pittsburgh Pirates were to trade Starling Marte that they could try to bring Dickerson back to play left with Bryan Reynolds shifting to centerfield.  Instead, Dickerson is heading to Miami to be with Cervelli.  He is signing a two-year contract worth $17.5 million.

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Dickerson might have been worth a shot at bringing back, Cervelli not so much.  Still, the team needs to find catching and outfield help this offseason.  A guy like Dickerson could have made a good stop-gap signing.  There will be no reunion with two of the more notable Pittsburgh Pirates of the last few years.